- The Cubs added two pitchers Thursday, agreeing to terms with right-handers Edwin Jackson and Carlos Villanueva, according to reports.
- While the Cubs added Thursday, the White Sox lost, as longtime White Sox catcher A.J. Pierzynski agreed to a one-year deal with the Rangers, pending a physical, a source told MLB.com’s T.R. Sullivan.
- In other pitching news, the Tigers have talked to the Mariners and Orioles about right-hander Rick Porcello, according to FoxSport.com’s Jon Paul Morosi.
- The Twins have interest in free agent right-hander Rich Harden, according to the Minneapolis Star Tribune. Our own Rhett Bollinger indicated the Twins are interested in adding another arm on Twitter.
- In the National League East on Thursday, the Phillies signed reliever Mike Adams, while the Marlins added Placido Polanco.
With Zack Greinke signing with the Dodgers and James Shields already dealt, talk has been heating up Friday regarding Mets right-hander R.A. Dickey.
Ken Rosenthal of FoxSports.com tweeted “all signs point to Mets trading Dickey.”
Rosenthal mentioned the Rangers as a possible trade partner, but MLB.com’s T.R. Sullivan tweeted that Texas is not involved with talks regarding the National League Cy Young Award winner.
The Blue Jays and outfielder Melky Cabrera have agreed to a two-year, $16 million contract, ESPN Deportes’ Enrique Rojas reported Friday afternoon. A source confirmed to MLB.com that the two sides are near a deal.
Cabrera was suspended 50 games in August for violating Major League Baseball’s drug program, testing positive for testosterone. The 28-year-old was leading the National League in hitting at the time, and also had previously been named an All-Star and earned MVP honors at the Midsummer Classic. He finished 2012 hitting .346 with 11 home runs and a .906 OPS for the Giants.
Cabrera, a seven-year veteran, had a breakout season in 2011 for Kansas City, posting 201 hits and a .305/.339/.470 slash line.
Before his then-career year as a Royal, Cabrera failed to live up to his promise with the Yankees (2005-09) and the Braves in 2010.
- Cash Kruth
Mariners right-handed reliever Brandon League appears to be staying out West. Where he will land, though, is yet to be determined.
Our own Alden Gonzalez reported earlier in this space the Angels are in talks with Seattle, while the San Francisco Chronicle’s Henry Schulman tweeted the Giants also are talking to the Mariners about League. League saved 37 games in 2011 but was removed from the closer role earlier this year. He has a 1.96 ERA (five earned runs in 23 innings) since June 1.
- Jim Bowden, of ESPN.com and MLB Network Radio, tweeted the Giants also are interested in Kansas City’s Jonathan Broxton, while CBSSports.com’s Jon Heyman tweeted San Francisco is looking for outfield help in the form of Philadelphia’s Shane Victorino and Hunter Pence, as well. FoxSports.com’s Ken Rosenthal tweeted Pence might be too expensive for the Giants.
- The Pittsburgh Tribune-Review’s Rob Biertempfel reports the Pirates are interested in Shin-Soo Choo, while our Carrie Muskat wrote earlier Pittsburgh also could be interested in Chicago’s David DeJesus, Reed Johnson and Jeff Baker as bats off the bench.
- Cash Kruth
With Zack Greinke dealt to the Angels, Cubs right-hander Matt Garza battling triceps cramping and teammate Ryan Dempster reportedly only interested in the Dodgers, it appears Marlins right-hander Josh Johnson is the biggest pitching name on the market.
According to our own T.R. Sullivan, the Rangers have talked about Johnson but are not high on the right-hander because of his past injuries.
Rays right-hander James Shields is another pitcher getting interest and ESPN’s Buster Olney reports rival executives believe the right-hander will be moved prior to Tuesday’s Trade Deadline. The Tampa Bay Times’ Marc Tompkin reports the Braves, Dodgers, Indians and Rangers are interested in the right-hander, who has club options for 2013 and 2014.
Elsewhere, the A’s are close to acquiring catcher George Kottaras from the Brewers on Saturday, as FoxSports.com’s Jon Morosi first reported. Brewers general manager Doug Melvin spoke told reporters, including our Adam McCalvy, that the deal is not yet finalized. Milwaukee designated Kottaras for assignment Thursday. He was hitting .209 this season.
- Cash Kruth
According to our own Jesse Sanchez, the Nationals expressed interest in Zack Greinke, who was traded to the Angels on Friday. The Braves also were in talks with the Brewers, but the two big players were the Angels and Rangers.
Greinke would have been been a great addition to the Nationals rotation, especially if they shut down young right-hander Stephen Strasburg later this year — which they have continued to say they will do. Strasburg, who underwent Tommy John surgery in 2010, has thrown 117 1/3 innings this season. The Nationals have said they are targeting a limit of about 160 innings for Strasburg in his first full season back from surgery.
- Cash Kruth
Brewers right-hander Zack Greinke, Cubs right-handers Ryan Dempster and Matt Garza and, possibly, Phillies lefty Cole Hamels are the top arms on the trade market this month. Jon Heyman of CBS Sports reports interest in Twins left-hander Francisco Liriano also has picked up following the lefty’s 15-strikeout game Friday. According to Heyman, the Angels, Red Sox, Yankees, Mets, Blue Jays, Braves and Red Sox are believed to be showing interest.
Speaking of Greinke, the right-hander’s next start has been pushed back and he’s also not on the probables list for Milwaukee’s weekend series in Cincinnati, our own Adam McCavly reports. That means Greinke won’t pitch for at least nine days.
That hurts the Brewers, who are eight games behind the first-place Reds in the National League Central and face the three teams ahead of them — Pittsburgh, St. Louis and Cincinnati — to open the second half. The Brewers have said they will wait until closer to the July 31 non-waiver Trade Deadline before deciding if they will shop Greinke, who they would like to extend.
Heyman reports the White Sox also are showing interest in Greinke, joining the Braves, Angels, Rangers and Orioles.
- Elsewhere, it’s been known that D-backs outfielder Justin Upton has a limited no-trade clause, which he can use to block trades to four teams. According to FoxSport.com’s Ken Rosenthal, those four teams are the Yankees, Red Sox, Indians and Cubs.
- It’s unclear whether the Rays will buy or sell. Right-hander James Shields might be on the market regardless, according to CBSSports.com’s Danny Knobler.
- The Yankees are seeking outfield help, according to Heyman, and have had discussions with the Phillies about Shane Victorino.
- Cash Kruth
The Cardinals and left-handed reliever J.C. Romero are close to agreeing on a one-year deal, according to Ken Rosenthal of FoxSports.com.
The 35-year-old Romero, who has spent parts of 13 seasons in the Majors, combined to go 1-0 with a 4.01 ERA last season with the Phillies and Rockies.
After appearing in 31 games as a reliever and starter with the Twins from 1999-2001, Romero broke in with the club in 2002 as a reliever, the only role he has pitched in since. He pitched three full seasons for the Phillies from 2008-10, posting a 3.04 ERA in 162 games in that span.
Another morning and afternoon passed Tuesday with no moves made as the July 31 non-waiver Trade Deadline nears.
That doesn’t mean there wasn’t plenty of chatter and, of course, most of it involved center fielders Carlos Beltran and B.J. Upton.
* Although Beltran would prefer to stay in the National League, the Mets’ best offer appears to becoming from the reigning AL champs.
* The Giants, in dire need of offense, are being linked to Beltran and Upton. Although San Francisco is the above scout’s guess to land Beltran, the Giants are also talking to the Rays about Upton.
* As noted in this space earlier, multiple reports have the Cardinals, Reds, Pirates, Royals, Nationals and Braves as teams interested in Upton. And although no one knows for sure if the Rays will deal Upton, it appears the chances of them trading right-hander James Shields are nil. Right-handers Neff Niemann and Wade Davis could be available, however, according to CBSSports.com.
* While the Shields trade talks are all but dead, the Rockies are still listening to offers for right-hander Ubaldo Jimenez.
* As written earlier, the Tigers are still looking for a starter. And even though Minnesota entered play Tuesday seven games back of Detroit and in fourth place in the AL Central, the Twins are apparently going to go for it — as of now.
Other posts of interest in this space you might have missed earlier today:
* With only one left-hander in their bullpen, the Yankees are looking for lefty help.
* The Braves are still looking to bolster their club, with a pair of Blue Jays relievers being possible targets.
* Cubs first baseman Carlos Pena is likely to be dealt.
- Cash Kruth